Monday, August 3, 2015


Summer was here before we knew it!  I had planned way back in October to take the family on a trip. We quarreled about where we were going to go.  Half of us wanted NYC, the other half wanted a cruise.  I compromised, because leaving half of us unhappy meant a 50% chance I'd have to hear about it.  We flew to NYC, spent a couple of days, boarded a boat to Canada for four days, then went back to NYC for another five days.  Despite my efforts to make everyone happy, I still heard the grumblings from my youngest son who said he wanted to go to Mexico, not Canada.  Yes, I tried to explain that Mexico wasn't possible from NYC in the time we needed, and we were still doing something he wanted to do, but he wasn't having it.  Once in the city, I gave up talking him into enjoying the sights and sounds of NYC and let him spend as much time as he wanted in the hotel room and NOT in the Big Apple.  Fine with me--one less child to please and spend oodles of money on!
Before we go into the trip itself, let's get off the ground and into JFK.  Kindsay has been on a plane before.  We took the family to Hawaii a few years ago and flew without incident.  Not one of the four kids said "BOO" about it.  For some reason this time I had two unsettled kiddies.  My youngest son, Ty, and Kindsay were not happy about getting on a plane.  Ty managed the anxiety well.  He'd try me out a few days prior by saying he wasn't going at all, and that netted him a bunch of havoc from me, so he dropped it.  Kindsay, however, didn't fuss until we were on the plane.  Here we are aboard a 767 jet with over a hundred people and almost six hours of flying ahead of us.  We've got Kindsay clutching Greg and me, her arms are across the aisle holding onto Greg while I sat beside her holding her left hand.  Instead of watching a movie on the screen in front of her, like we all did to distract us and pass the time easily, she watched the flight plan the entire time.  She watched the little plane on the screen cross the country over the course of six hours.  Yes, the entire six hours we watched the plane travel in small dots with updates about speed and elevation.  We left at noon so it wasn't like bed time or anything, and even then she wouldn't have slept.  She kept rocking back and forth, making her squealing noises every now and then, and held our hands with sweaty, nervous palms.  She'd comment every few minutes about the plane, "Mom--is it going high?  Is this how fast it is?  Is the plane moving?  Are we close?"  No Kindsay, we still have five hours and twenty minutes!  And then her bathroom breaks were more often, every twenty minutes or so.  I kept trying to keep her calm because she didn't care who heard her when she would get anxious.  I thought, If someone were on this plane and super nervous about flying and heard Kindsay talking about 'going down'...they'll lose their cool and jump up screaming for the door.
My sister has done that before on a flight, so I know it can happen.
It went okay until landing.  She could feel the landing gear setting itself in position to land.  Kindsay grabbed us and leaned way over as though it were her body keeping the plane balanced.  She squealed and started panicking in louder and louder volumes so that I had to shush her more and more, to no effect.  I know people were looking and wondering what this full grown woman (Kindsay is 18 years old and a few inches shy of six feet tall) was doing sprawled across the aisle, bent in half, shrieking as though the Wright brothers were conducting their maiden voyage with her in row 33.  When the plane hit the runway, she jolted and shrieked again then called out, "I am not flying home.  I am taking the train.  This is my last trip.  I am staying with Grandma next time!"  I was thrilled to see the beautiful city lights of New York out the window, but mostly to know that Kindsay knew she was on the ground and that would be the end of it...for ten days at least.  Alas, not to worry, Kindsay reminded me every day after that how she is taking the train and staying with Grandma next time.  It really made me look forward to breaking the news to her that she was indeed flying home...but staying with Grandma next time?  Done!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Mouse Trap

We had a smart mouse.  It would leave small traces of itself around the kitchen or bathroom, but our attempts to catch it were futile.  We finally had to call pest control.  I started thinking the pest control company had hired the mouse to torment us for business.  The mouse was finally caught, but with our own traps and not until after we paid $75 for pest control to come out and lay out more traps.  Lesson learned…pest control won’t do much more than you can already do for yourself. 
But it was a good lesson.  My husband, you know the animal rights carnivore that he is, didn’t want to hurt the mouse.  You know how he found a pack of baby squirrels and hid them in our closet because he knew I’d be furious, but his heart was so broken that the mother wasn’t around that he couldn’t take it anymore.  I had squirrels in my closet.  He reluctantly, (other options?), took them to the animal shelter where I am sure they nodded with agreement while my husband pleaded their case.  “Sure, we’ll feed them and nourish them and get them on their way.”  He left satisfied while they probably chucked the box of squirrels in the canal behind the shelter.  So he bought mousetraps that would keep it alive until he was able to set it free outside.  I’d say—what, so it can come back in?  Let’s just make it a bed while we’re at it?  He couldn’t bear the thought of killing it, but after months of finding torn this and poop that, he agreed—we have to get rid of the mouse!  And we had to be serious about it!
So I bought a bunch of those old fashioned, Tom and Jerry mousetraps.  Amazing how years will pass and some things don’t change.  I’ve never used one, but they are simple contraptions that can be figured out after watching just a few cartoons as a kid.  My husband was hesitant and a little uneasy about putting them together, but I assured him it would be no big deal.  Never underestimate my husband. I’m sitting on my lounge chair in the den, and I can hear my son and husband in the kitchen.  They are working together to get these mousetraps ready to lay in wait for their intellectual victim.  The way they were talking I imagined them with their heads together, one doing the work while other did the coaching.  “Okay, careful now, pull it back, don’t let go!  Okay, pull and clip…there!  Okay, be careful…careful…easy.”  Oh good, one down only eight more to go.  I thought, See?  You CAN do it…easy!  Just load and pull back the clip. 
Then I hear them again…oh dear.
“Okay, now gentle, gentle, set it down…oooh!  Careful!”  I sat up.  

No, they weren’t.  They didn’t.  I didn’t have a comment because I didn’t want to believe it. 

“Gregory….are you putting the peanut butter on AFTER you set the trap?”
“No…we are using cheese.”
Cheese?  Okay, now I know he’s stuck in a Tom and Jerry cartoon only Tom was smarter by putting the food on FIRST.  He’s got my son holding the trap while he sets down a piece of cheese, gingerly, with the hope that the trap doesn’t go off on my son.  I look around the corner to see for myself that this was happening.  They both look up at me and realize their erroneous ways so apparent through the sheepish look on their faces, which turns to embarrassment…and so they should be!  Despite my call out of their backwards methods, I still verbally instructed them in case the obvious to me wasn’t obvious to them—Put a bit of peanut butter on the plank THEN set the trap. 

Lucky for them, the mouse fell for it.  

Greggy Part 2

I wish I could share with you the wedding of my oldest daughter three years ago.  This is a child I cherish beyond words, so for me to give the details on the wedding might break her heart so I will refrain and save the story for my personal journal.  However, I can share with you my wedding...which happened a long time ago, in a land, right here in Fresno, sort of. 
Back to Greg...Greg and I dated for 3 and a half years, which in Mormon years is FOREVER.  I wasn't allowed to mention the "M" word to the guy, though I could never figure out why this virgin wouldn't jump on the chance to get married and do the married thing (no puns or irreverence intended, it's just the honest truth.)  We'd been Disneyland fans from day one, and during one random visit, he popped the question on the bridge in front of Sleeping Beauty's castle.  He'd carried that darn ring box in his sock achingly all day...what a trooper and romantic.  I said yes right away, we took pictures (strangers willing to snap them of course) which ended up being exposed by a child I love dearly and will no longer continue to punish with my ever-resentful reminders..but it was a happy day.  I remember feeling light as air, I even allowed people to cut in front of me in the lines, whereas any other time I would've "handled my business."  We married 6 weeks later--ah, there's the awakening of the virgin. We should've waited a few months to get married to give us time and money to have a decent reception.  Since my dad and sister had been married that year there wasn't any money left for a reception.  But Greg was not waiting any longer than he had to.  Alas, we had to have an open house.  No biggie...Greg didn't even WANT a reception--huh!  Imagine how I, the bride, reacted to that.  So here's how lame the open house was.  First, the invitations we picked out were meant for people on their 3rd and 4th weddings...completely unconventional, non-traditional, didn't mention the names of the parents so half the invitees were like--who is this again?  Next, we had to have it at my mom's house.  No we had to serve some local Mexican fare on plastic silver burritos I think was all.  Dumb, we weren't Mexican, no Mexican theme, where did that come from?  Burritos?  No fruit, no cute frilly platters...burritos and punch.  If you are like me, the food is the driving force behind any function attendance.  BOMB!  Then, I wanted a chocolate cake--again totally non-traditional.  But hey, I like chocolate.  We had a vanilla sheet cake for those weirdos that don't eat chocolate (they should be dragged somewhere and...)  My hair was flat and my make-up practically gone since the wedding was in the LDS Oakland temple, and we had to drive 3 hours back home right away to the reception.  I looked like some lady out of a 1950's catalog whose photo shoot got cut at the last minute because thankfully some other photographer pulled through with a REAL bride.  Of course, it was a mess...half of Greg's family wasn't there...or more than half.  It was too foggy for anyone to want to drive who was over 60 years old.  My nail broke on my ring finger so showing my ring in any photo was a tossed sentiment.  When we finally got to the hotel room it was so awkward I don't remember any of it except for the lone bath I took in the suite's tub.  And yet, here we still are, been together for 20 years and not much has changed except that I've broken Greg down enough to not be embarrassed to buy toilet paper.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015


Kindsay had the choice of two proms to attend for her senior year.  First is the one our church holds annually for seniors.  It's a place where kids can congregate and know it will be tasteful.  (Have you been to a school dance lately?)  The second is her school prom.  She was planning on attending both with her teachers taking her to her school prom, but for the church prom, she asked her dad and I if we would take her.  Not a moment of hesitation.  We bought her a dress.  Her preference?  Bling. And pink.  I found one at Macy's with the required qualities, and we picked out a cute furry cover-up to make sure she was modest.  Because she has problems with her feet, we picked out open sandals covered in guess what...more bling.  And she picked out a new tiara (yes, there's an old one) and jewelry.  Bottom line, Kindsay wanted to be a princess right out of a Disney movie.
But we had an unexpected surprise.
Knowing all the seniors at church were going with each other made me feel kind of bad.  I know Kindsay wouldn't be the easiest date because the evening would have to revolve around her (or else!), so I understood when no senior boy at church asked her out.  And then my bestie's son had a great idea.  Being a senior himself and not planning on attending the church prom, he thought it would be a great thing for her if he asked her.  I didn't want to place any expectations on him in case he changed his mind so I didn't say anything to Kindsay.  They've known each other all their lives so Kindsay would've known there wasn't anything romantic, and Nathan, our hero, wouldn't have been her type anyway, not with his short hair (she loves it shaggy, remember?)
Well, Nathan didn't hold back any fun for the event.  He made her a poster to help pose his question and brought it to our house.  I had to give her a heads-up so she wouldn't lose her manners. (She'll straight out ignore you if she's in the right mood.)  I went to her room and told her we had a special guest coming over to ask her to the church prom.  (I also wanted her to be dressed since she prefers walking around in her sports bra and briefs.)  Immediately the questions came flying, "Who who who who who who who who who?" (in a variety of forms)  I kept assuring her it was a friend, that it would be just a night for friends and fun, that she would get to put on her pretty dress, that she would get to go to dinner and have steak (serious carnivore), but I doubt she heard anything I said.  I think she would've bursted if I had given her any more heads-up than the five minutes I gave her.
Then he came over, and the rest is history!  To make it more special, our wonderful church leader and bishop agreed to Nathan driving his brand new truck.  Did you know Kindsay loves trucks?  Well, not all trucks, brand-new 6-seaters is what she loves, and our bishop's truck was just that.  We kept that as her evening's surprise.  After pictures, we walked her outside and told her, "See that truck over there?  It's how you and Nathan are getting to the prom!"  She ran and Nathan almost became invisible (if it were possible for her and the truck to take off into the sunset, she would have.)  I think she hugged the truck too.

Anyway, watch the video--it was a night to remember.  Once they got to the actual prom, she announced the end of the evening, which was okay because that was what Nathan expected her to do.  After all, he enjoyed driving the truck too, so home they came just after arriving at the prom, and since driving in the truck was the best part, they drove well below
the speed limit.

Monday, May 25, 2015

The First Shopping Trip

Kindsay loves food.  When she wakes in the morning, she goes straight to breakfast.  (most of us will hit the bathroom first?) She gets her Pop Tarts, slams herself into the recliner, and devours them.  She gulps her milk down so fast you can hear it upstairs.  When she finishes with breakfast she secures her lunch for school.  Yeah, yeah, yeah, she gets dressed for thrown into a ponytail and clothes placed on her body without thought, such an inconvenience.  When she walks through the door at the end of the day she calls me.  It doesn't matter that every time she does I ignore it (if I'm close to being home) or answer it and tell her "I don't know," and hang up.  I know what she wants.  "What is for dinner?"  Boy, if I don't have that planned can forget it!  I will suffer.  And if she finally gives up on me and eats something random, and I actually do cook dinner, I get an earful for not telling her.  I say, "I didn't know at the time.  I told you to just wait!"  But that's not good enough.  Why didn't I tell her?  Did I know she was going to go eat something else?  Why did I let her do that so now she is too full to eat what I've made?
Well, at least someone cares about boys eat everything doused in ketchup so they don't care what I cook.
Kindsay finally got some money for her groceries.  She always told us that when she got her money for groceries when she turned 18 that she was going to buy her food and we were not going to be allowed to eat it.  We would not be able to have any of her food.  It would be hers and we would get in huge trouble if we touched it.  OK...uh-huh.  We know, Kindsay, we won't touch your precious food.
So she gets her money and we go to Target.  I get a shopping cart, and she comes up from behind with one of her own.  She has some big humongous blingy boots on with her maxi skirt swaying down the aisles like the food is being emptied off the shelves as we speak.  She is like a bullet train getting to her next destination.  Yikes.  I can't even tell people fast enough "excuse us" because she is blowing past them.  I stop worrying about other people.  If they can't get out of her way on their own, it's their problem.
I tell her, "I have to go grab a few things over there, so I will meet you in the food section.  Just for now pick out a couple of things you like."  I don't know that she cared if I was still in the store, she was already zoned into the food.  I asked Greg to follow her because...well, you never know.  Just follow her please.
I get my things and head back to the food section.  I can't see her but I can hear her bellowing, "Where's the _____?"  "Can I get one of these?"  "How many should I take?"  It's like she's never eaten before the way she is looking at the food.  I follow her voice to find her and Greg in an aisle.  I look in her cart.  No kidding--five 2-liters of soda, 3 bottles of sparkling cider, 1 box of hot cider packets, 2 bottles of sparkling flavored water, some mini wrapped cheeses, and a couple boxes of Pop Tarts.  Wait a minute!--I say.  I start putting things back, like 3 of the sodas, 2 bottles of sparkling cider...she starts protesting.  I look at Greg, "Really?  You couldn't say no to her?"  He tells me that what I see in the cart IS a result of him saying no.  "You should've seen the cart before I said no!"  Well, we need to say it some more because she is not going to drink through her grocery money and she's not eating like royalty out of Target (who eats baby cheeses?)  I tell Kindsay, "You have to keep your voice down, I can hear you across the store."
"That's nothing," Greg tells me, "You should've heard her earlier.  She was so loud while looking for things, a guy three aisles away hollered that what she was looking for was over by him."
Oh geez.  It takes a village, doesn't it!?
I finally get Greg to pull in the reins more, he's shooting down all her requests for this and that gourmet whatever, until she mentions seafood.  His eyes lit up and he floated behind her while she headed to the frozen food.  They pull out frozen shrimp and Greg loses his judgment completely.  I have to monitor both of them at this point.  It also didn't help that Kindsay's favorite food is steak..."Where's the steak?"  I explain that we can go to the Meat Market for steak, not Target.  That satisfies her only if I can give her an actual date that we'll go. Uh, Monday, Monday, okay?...I choose whatever day is enough away that I can get her to forget or at least hush about it for now.
So now we're up to a bag of bagels, flavored cream cheese, flavored oatmeal, frozen shrimp and fish fillets, mini powdered donuts, a few boxes of sugar cereal, some frozen pasta dishes, and mac n cheese.  I resign, but, I tell her...This is IT until next month!  You get one trip, then you have to eat it slowly or you'll be out of food in a matter of days.  I don't know that she is able to register what I say while her eyes are whirling looking at the food in such a new light.
We get home and I assign her a drawer in the pantry and a part of a shelf.  She can have those for her food.  Oh, thank goodness for sugary, salty, over-processed food--the factories are working overtime now that Kindsay has grocery money!  Manufacturers are partying hard--Kellogg's is treating their employees to a cruise...General Mills just wrote bonus checks to their employees, Kraft's processing plant just pushed the conveyer belt speed to "Kindsay's here!"  A new chapter in our lives.  And this one is going to be long.